Skydancer

Skydancer
Skydancer is an exciting new four-year project aimed at raising awareness and promoting the conservation of hen harriers in the north of England.
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  • Blog Post: Update from Bowland

    I really wish I had been able to talk about harriers as much as I seem have been talking about the bad weather this year. Too much of one and really not enough of the other is how I feel about this season! That rain at the end of last week really did hit us hard in Bowland. As you’ll see from...
  • Blog Post: Hen harrier forensics

    Science and technology play an integral part these days in allowing us to learn more about our native wildlife and in the fight against wildlife crime. The satellite transmitter fitted to ‘our Betty’ as a young chick, is a fantastic example of this. In the first instance we learnt a huge...
  • Blog Post: Emotional roller coaster!

    The excitement was palpable 10 days ago when I took a call from Mick (the RSPB’s Assistant warden) to say that a food pass had been seen between a male and female harrier on the United Utilities estate. I could almost feel my pulse quicken with excitement, the first food pass in two years, this...
  • Blog Post: Bowland Betty - final update

    Those of you who followed the Skydancer blog over the spring/summer this year will have been familiar with hearing about the exploits of the female hen harrier 74843 or Bowland Betty as she was known to us locally. The reason I've been unable to provide you with regular updates since my last post...
  • Blog Post: Just add water

    Guest blog from Gavin Thomas, Bowland Wader Project Officer. ... is what it says on the mug on my desk - part of the recipe for Lapwing breeding success. But how much water? This is indeed ‘Great weather for ducks’ but also apparently ‘great weather for wading birds’ I’m...
  • Blog Post: Ferocious predators

    Not many harriers about in Bowland I’m afraid to say but there were plenty of these around on the spring bank holiday 'In search of sky dancers' walk. This is the sun loving green tiger beetle or Cincindela campestris , which tells you something about the weather we enjoyed on the...
  • Blog Post: Hen Harrier of Peace

    As regular readers of this blog will know, hen harriers have always been an iconic feature of the Bowland landscape. So much so in fact, that as the logo of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), they have become a literal symbol of the area, appearing on signs and fence posts...
  • Blog Post: Skydancing Schools: Part 1

    Apologies again! I realise it’s gone a bit quiet from me since my last post but that’s only because I’ve been so busy putting together lots of exciting games, crafts and activities as part of our Skydancer outreach programme for local schools. I can’t wait to start putting it...
  • Blog Post: Introducing some non-avian taxa

    Any guesses? This is the caterpillar of the Oak eggar moth ( Lasiocampa quercus ). It's the first one I've seen this year and seemed to be taking advantage of a spell of sunshine by warming its self on a 'lounger' shaped rock! The name Oak eggar is a little misleading as they...
  • Blog Post: Harriers and hailstones 2

    I saw lots of hailstones on the fell yesterday but not many harriers. No harriers in fact. In fact I’ve not seen a harrier all year. Now I should point out that I am not on the hill every day like Mick (Bowland Assistant Warden) but even Mick hasn't seen many. If this were a typical year...
  • Blog Post: The continuing adventures of 74843

    Following my last blog on the travels of 74843, she has continued to prove a constant talking point ... After we left her in southern Scotland, she continued northwards for a second time, only on this occasion she bypassed Dornoch (breaking her own record for distance north travelled by a satellite...
  • Blog Post: What a difference a day makes

    Sitting out on the fells in Bowland these last few weeks has been a strange experience. By now, in all the years that staff and volunteers monitoring hen harriers on the United Utilities estate can remember, we would have been able to head up onto the fell knowing we would be able to watch harriers....
  • Blog Post: Skydancer – a new way forward for hen harriers and grouse shooting?

    The Skydancer project may just be getting started but as many of us know, the need to conserve and protect hen harriers in England is nothing new. Though their diet mainly comprises meadow pipits and field voles, hen harriers will occasionally take red grouse and it is recognised that in certain situations...
  • Blog Post: Not so flaming June

    Somehow we have reached June. It certainly doesn’t feel that way sitting out on the hill, last week I was out there fully waterproofed up with fleece and woolly hat and it felt like March ... the lack of harriers just added to that feeling. The only thing making it feel like it really was June...
  • Blog Post: School's out, farm's in

    Guest blog from Gavin Thomas, Bowland Wader Project Officer. Last week I was sat, brew in hand at kitchen table, with yet another Bowland farmer who is doing his bit to make space for nature on his land. The chat was broken as the door burst open and in piled the kids back from school. His youngest...
  • Blog Post: Still hoping

    At the beginning of this year I was fully expecting to be blogging to you all about the joys of sitting on the hill watching hen harriers skydancing, nesting building, hunting, food passing and eventually the first tentative flights of the next generation of English hen harriers. However, since my...
  • Blog Post: Ghost Bird, 15-16th September

    I must apologise - August is clearly a difficult month for blogging as everyone and his dog seems to be on holiday! Not to worry though, normal service will resume shortly...! In the meantime, I have what promises to be a very interesting piece of independent hen harrier based theatre to share with...
  • Blog Post: Touring Skydancer Road Show

    *Phew*! Between April and July is definitely the busy season for people engagement and I feel like I've hardly been in the office at all - no bad thing given the recent bout of sunshine! With the help of some fantastic volunteers, I've been out and about visiting schools, running moorland field...
  • Blog Post: New additions ...

    Guest blog from Gavin Thomas, Bowland Wader Project Officer. A day later than last year, these little beauties were making their first uncertain steps towards the nearest wader scrape on Alston Wetland on the edge of Longridge yesterday afternoon. More on Alston Wetland later, but for now, these...
  • Blog Post: Bowland update

    So we’ve reached the beginning of April and what of the birds in Bowland I hear you all asking. Well, to be honest it’s pretty quiet on the harrier front. I reported the skydancing male back on the 19th March but alas, his efforts did not lead to him attracting a female and we have not seen...
  • Blog Post: Betty's Story - on BBC iPlayer

    If any of you didn't manage to catch it last night or happen to live outside the region, you can now watch Jude Lane talk about the tragedy of Bowland Betty and the issues facing hen harriers in England on Inside Out North East & Cumbria on BBC iPlayer ! It's only 8 minutes long but it does...
  • Blog Post: Where is she now?

    So 74843 continued her journey back down south, stopping off in the Cairngorms for about 5 days where she ranged both east and west of the A9 around Dalwhinnie. I have to say she’s been picking some cracking spots to hang out, it’s really stunning in that area if you ever get the opportunity...
  • Blog Post: Treading carefully......

    Guest blog from Gavin Thomas, Bowland Wader Project Officer. If you follow the Bowland Wildlife blog you may have been surprised to see a recent photo taken by one of the Wader Project volunteers (thanks Helen!) of an Oystercatcher nesting on top of a fencepost in Bleasdale. Bowland’s Oystercatchers...
  • Blog Post: Skydancing Schools explore the moors!

    It's true what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So how many words, or indeed how many pictures, are worth a single first-hand experience? It's a good question and I honestly have no idea what the answer is but I'd hazard a guess that it's a heck of a lot. Anyone with...
  • Blog Post: What lies beneath ...

    Guest blog from Gavin Thomas, Bowland Wader Project Officer. Well here goes, after a number of requests for me to join the ‘blogosphere’ the Bowland Wader Project is finally dipping its wetter than most toes in, thanks to an invite from Jude. Strange as it may seem, being the two halves...